After years of financial difficulty, UTair orders 30 B737 MAX 8
Russian airline UTair has placed an order on thirty Boeing 737 MAX 8s, according to Boeing order book The estimated price of the contract is of $ 1.76 billion. It is the biggest order from a Russian airline for a new generation plane.
UTair has a fleet of 65 active aircraft, most of them being Boeing’s. The new order will replace some of the 32 Boeing 737-500 that it currently operates.
In 2013, UTair planned out the renewal of its fleet. However, the project was put on hold as the company faced financial difficulties. In April 2015, UTair canceled its order of 24 Sukhoi Superjet 100. Scraping the renewal plan and selling its subsidiaries UTair Express and Azur Air helped the airline in staying airborne. In the first quarter of 2018, UTair was the third Russian airline, behind Aeroflot and S7, with 1.7 million passengers transported. However, it is now the only major Russian company that did not renew its fleet in the past years.
The Boeing 737-500s of the company now aged to the point that their maintenance cost make them financially inefficient, said Oleg Panteleev, director of “Aviaport” aviation agency, to Vedomosti.
The new batch of Boeing planes will help UTair reduce its fuel consumption and also increase it overall passenger capacity. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 can accommodate up to 178 passengers, compared to the 126 of the 737-500, while consuming 15% less fuel thanks to its LEAP engines.